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LIFE ON THE CIRCUIT : Message of Institute's Benefit Goes Straight to the Heart

February 10, 1990|PAMELA MARIN

Party Hearty A benefit for the Saddleback Heart Institute of Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills. "An Affair of the Heart" drew 245 guests at $100 each to the Ritz-Carlton hotel on Wednesday night, raising an estimated $30,000 in ticket sales and other donations. Doctored Menu After munching raw vegetables and fresh fruit at cocktail hour, guests headed into a pink-and-gray trimmed dining room for what might be the most healthful fund-raiser fare of the year. Make that any year. The hotel's executive chef, Christian Rassinoux, whipped up a four-course gourmet meal sans salt, butter and other evil ingredients now banned from chic cuisine. In their place were spices and oils and the leanest of cuisines: cream of curried mushroom soup, pear vinaigrette, grilled chicken breast with papaya pesto and peach timbale with apple cinnamon sauce. Amazingly, the meal clocked in at a mere 376 calories. Happily, the chef's recipes were included in the program. Cardiolingo Also in the program were the benefit's buzzwords: "heartfelt," "heartwarming" and "heart smart." Out in the cocktail hour crowd--thick with cardiologists and other docs--heart consciousness was high. Event chairwoman Bobbi Hawkins said she and her cardiologist husband and their three children "used to be a Twinkie-and-Pepsi family." Reformed now, the Hawkinses are a skinned-chicken-and-skim-milk brood. "The kids have not seen red meat in years," Hawkins said. James Ray, executive vice president of the hospital, said he was pleased to hear his teen-age daughters and their friends talking about food "the way adults talk about it," he said. "They were saying things like, 'I only eat red meat once a week,' and 'I eat a lot of chicken and fish.' I think it's great that they're already thinking like that." Unbending to the trend, Richard Ferreras, an internist, smiled when asked about his heart smarts. "For tonight," he said elliptically. His date, Melinda Francisco, was more direct. "He does not eat vegetables," she said, spearing a slice of red pepper with a fork. "I do." Weird Buffet When did it sound like a good idea to haul a dilatation catheter into the cocktail room and plunk it down on a white-clothed buffet table just a few feet from the fruits-and-vegetables spread? Whose idea was it to fill another table with colorful pictures of vein-encrusted hearts? What's next? Coronary balloons lofted over a dance floor? Pacemaker centerpieces? Also Attending Douglas Lyle, Saddleback's chief of medicine and chief of cardiology, with Nan Owen. Nolan and Joyce Draney, Art and Carlmilie Schneider, Charles and Ellen Lewinstein, Jack and Lou Chezich and Frank and Ethel Vavroch.

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